MURRAY – During the holidays, scammers focus less on giving and more on stealing. Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should be aware of increasingly aggressive and unorthodox scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information.
“A few scams are specific to the holidays, but most are variations on everyday frauds, ramped up to match seasonal spikes in spending and web traffic,” said Tim Stark, vice president of marketing at The Murray Bank. “Not surprisingly, they often center on shopping, especially online.”
Once you’re ready to shop, make sure you are aware of the most common scams:
Online Shopping Scams
Scammers often offer too-good-to-be-true deals through advertisements or phishing e-mails. Such schemes often offer brand-name merchandise at extremely low prices. Consumers should avoid untrustworthy sites or advertisements.
Social Media Scams
Consumers should beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gifts cards through promotions or contests. These scams often lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is designed to steal personal information.
Gift Card Scams
Consumers should be careful if someone asks them to purchase a gift card for them through a fake e-mail, phone call or text. Always verify the identity of the person and the reason for the purchase through other mediums of communication. These incidents are often paired with a fraudulent wire transfer.
Charity Scams. Be wary of false charities requesting donations during the holiday season. Verify the charity through research as well as payment links. The solicitations can appear through any form of communication including social media, mail, e-mails, phone calls and texts.
Many fraudsters will purchase items through your online shopping account from prior breaches of retailer websites. Change your passwords often, use different and complex passwords with characters, numbers and symbols and utilize multi-factor authentication when possible.
Beware of Public
Wi-Fi. Do not conduct online shopping or banking using public Wi-Fi networks. There is no guarantee as to how secure the network is and who may be intercepting your transactions.
Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The holidays are a time of giving but only from family and friends!
If you think you have fallen for a scam, regardless of the amount you think was compromised, contact your financial institution or local law enforcement and then file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Founded in Murray, The Murray Bank is Murray and Calloway County’s only locally owned and operated bank. For more information on any services offered by The Murray Bank, call 270-753-5626, 270-492-8388 or log onto www.TheMurrayBank.com.